Cee-Lo Is the Latest Victim of Smart Quotes

The original low-tech YouTube music video for Cee-Lo’s “Fuck You” is almost perfect. How better to celebrate the paradox of a catchy summer hit that’s unplayable on radio than by having the offending lyrics themselves dance around the screen, in bouncy meta-commentary on the song’s impossibility?

But every time the chorus comes up in the clip, one of the typographical dancers steps the wrong way: 

I see you driving ‘round town with the girl I love.

That’s a left-facing single quotation mark on


where there should be a right-facing apostrophe, like so:

driving ’round town.

This is clearly the latest piece of damage inflicted by the grossly misnamed “smart quotes,” a software routine that is too dumb to recognize elementary rules of human punctuation. It’s the same reason that the Baltimore Orioles have been playing with typos on their baseball caps for two years.